DESPITE the demands of the role, long hours and lengthy commute to Sydney from his Kiama Downs home, Malcolm Connellan enjoys getting up to go to work each morning.
‘‘I’m a part of the team; I enjoy it because I really enjoy my job,’’ he said.
He’s been rewarded for that dedication with an Australian Fire Service Medal as part of the 2014 Queen’s Birthday honours list.
The award is one of the highest honours an Australian firefighter can receive.
Mr Connellan, 54, has worked for Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), formerly NSW Fire Brigades, for more than 30 years, during which time he has been involved in the development of several important projects, including the implementation of a new human resources payroll system and electronic rostering and timesheet systems for staff.
He has held the position of professional standards and conduct officer and assistant director human resources, and is currently the chief of staff, providing personal assistance and support to the FRNSW Commissioner.
He was also awarded the Unit Commendation for Meritorious Service in 1994. The father of three has a unique perspective on individuals being acknowledged via awards.
‘‘I actually run the honours system for our organisation,’’ he said.
‘‘I often have people say, ‘I’m only doing what other people would have done’, and I never knew what that meant.
‘‘Now I do.
‘‘That’s how I feel now; you don’t do things for the honour or recognition, you do it because it’s the right thing to do.
‘‘I’m doing my job, not doing it for the recognition.’’
Although previously working as station officer at Wollongong for a six-year period, subsequent promotions have taken him back to Sydney.
‘‘I’m quite proud of when I was station officer at Wollongong, around 2002/03 we formed a partnership with Illawarra Area Health and the Lions Clubs in the area,’’ he said.
‘‘We installed more than a thousand smoke alarms in elderly and disabled residents’ homes in the Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama local government areas.’’
Despite working long hours and being an on-call emergency incident commander outside normal working hours, Mr Connellan has been heavily involved in community activities, such as being a member of the Minnamurra Lions Club. He has previously served as the club’s president and vice-president.
‘‘I like the camaraderie of a group of people from different backgrounds, who get together to help their community, and build their community,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s rewarding work.
‘‘The best thing we ever did was move down here.’’
Mr Connellan is one of five FRNSW recipients of the award announced during the Queen’s Birthday honours.
FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins congratulated him on his award.
“He held the position of professional standards and conduct officer where his ethical and empathetic nature and leadership skills were critical in providing assistance to staff members and their families during times of distress and discomfort.
‘‘Chief Superintendent Connellan has been able to utilise his dynamic leadership and management capabilities to influence, mentor and support numerous people both within and outside FRNSW.
‘‘This included providing support to the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service earlier this year during the state’s major bushfires.
‘‘He is well-respected among firefighters and is a mentor to those who work with him.’’
Mr Connellan will be presented with his AFSM at a ceremony later in the year.